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Toledo water plant chief submits resignation

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    David Leffler, plant operations commissioner at the Toledo Water Treatment plant.

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David Leffler, the commissioner in charge of Toledo’s troubled water treatment plant, on Monday turned in his resignation, effective Sept. 1.

Mr. Leffler, 60, of Lambertville, Mich., had been asked for his resignation by Mayor D. Michael Collins, The Blade has learned.

Mr. Leffler was in Alaska on vacation during the city’s Aug. 2-4 water crisis. On Friday, he submitted a request for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Mr. Collins did not criticize Mr. Leffler’s job performance, and he said the do-not-drink advisory would have happened regardless of whether Mr. Leffler broke off his vacation to return to Toledo. The commissioner reports directly to the director of the Department of Public Utilities.

But the mayor said he had lost confidence in Mr. Leffler and that they had differences, which he would not detail. As a commissioner, Mr. Leffler serves at the pleasure of the mayor.

“Mr. Leffler has provided the city of Toledo with his expertise and he has been a value added for his career. At this point in time I felt that my level of confidence in him to be able to carry out policy and facilitate the vision we have with the city of Toledo had diminished. This has nothing to do with his character or his work ethic. I think we had arrived at a point of irreconcilable differences,” Mr. Collins said.

Tim Murphy, a commissioner of environmental services, is now the acting commissioner of water treatment.

The administration declined to detail the reasons for Mr. Leffler’s request for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Mr. Leffler could not be reached for comment.

Mayor Collins said Mr. Leffler has accumulated 120 hours of sick leave since his return from retirement in 2013, some of which he will use and the remainder of which he can take as part of his severance.

Mr. Leffler, who started with the city in 1988, retired Dec. 28, 2012, as an administrator in public services, with an annual salary of $80,976.

He was re-hired under Mayor Mike Bell on Jan. 9, 2013, as an acting commissioner of public services, at a salary of $77,500, and this was his salary when he submitted his resignation.

Mr. Leffler was director of public utilities from January, 2008, through May, 2009, under Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, when he was demoted in a reorganization to administrator.

City officials issued an advisory to some 500,000 Toledo water customers not to consume the water, starting about 2 a.m. Aug. 2, when tests revealed the presence of the toxin microcystin at a level deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization.

The advisory was canceled on Aug. 4.

Contact Tom Troy: or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.



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